There are forces of nature in life that don’t have the same impact here in Football’s elysium. Take gravity for example. Our friends here at In Off the Ghost no longer have to worry about the heavy hand of gravity weighing them down. Floating at the back post for a header is no problem for even the shortest of our ghostly guests.
However, in the world of football the laws of gravity and motion are still very much a force to be reckoned with, and it is clear that no one in the Premier League knows how to exploit these better than Sam Allardyce. After Blackburn’s 3-0 victory over fellow footballing pragmatist Mick McCarthy’s Wolverhampton Wanderers, ‘Big’ Sam’s men took advantage of a Wolves defence leakier than the US Department of State to climb to ninth in the table and leave Wolves rooted to the bottom of the league.
After this weekend’s games, In Off the Ghost was contacted by a spirit who knows more about the forces of nature than most in football’s Valhalla so that he could give our readers a unique insight into Big Sam’s tactics. A cold welcome to legendary physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, theologian and long ball enthusiast, Sir Isaac Newton.
“I have always said, Plato is my friend — Aristotle is my friend — but my greatest friend is the hoof, and I for one am a fan of Sam Allardyce and his team’s style of play. If Blackburn have progressed further this weekend it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants such as Christopher Samba and Jason Roberts.” Mused Newton, his ghostly hand on his chin in deep thought.
“To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction; or, the mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and directed to contrary parts. When Salgado put his foot through the ball for Blackburn’s second goal, it was bound to be launched far into the opposition’s territory where players such as Jason Roberts and Brett Emerton can take advantage. As my law of gravity is so often succinctly surmised: what goes up, must come down.
“The laws of physics are undeniable, and Allardyce uses them perfectly to advance up the pitch as swiftly as possible. Blackburn’s exploitation of Morten Gamst Pedersen’s set pieces are also a wonderful example of the maxim that every body continues in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a right line, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed upon it, and for Rovers, that force is normally the enormous head of a giant centre back, in this case Ryan Nelsen.”
I asked Sir Isaac what he thought of those who criticize big Sam’s direct approach to the game. He bristled and boomed out in anger:
“I can calculate the motions of erratic stars, but not the madness of the multitude who condemn perfectly legitimate styles of play. Some jest that you need to be an astronomer to follow some of Blackburn’s high balls, but rarely do Sam Allardyce’s teams overcomplicate matters in the fashion of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal. Maybe Allardyce and myself are kindred spirits, he must feel as assured as I do in the belief that truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.”
(All material in this blog is entirely fictional and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone, alive or dead, other than those of the author.)